Generic Name: amiodarone, Oral tablet

Cordarone,Pacerone

All Brands

  • Cordarone
  • Pacerone
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for amiodarone

Oral tablet
1

Amiodarone is a drug used to treat the heart rate problems ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

2

A healthcare provider in the hospital will give you the first dose of this drug. You may need to be monitored in the hospital while the dose is adjusted. After that, you’ll take your doses of amiodarone at home.

3

This drug is available as an oral tablet and a solution for injection. You may start with the oral tablet in the hospital and continue to take the tablet at home. In rare cases, your doctor may start you with the injection at the hospital and give you the oral tablet to take at home.

4

You shouldn’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you know how amiodarone affects you.

5

Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and changes in sex drive or performance. You may still have side effects from amiodarone after stopping treatment. This medicine stays in your body for several months after it’s stopped.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Serious side effects warning: Amiodarone should only be used if you have a life-threatening arrhythmia or irregular heart rate. This medication has the risk of serious side effects. These include serious lung problems, liver problems, worsening of your irregular heart rate, and loss of vision. These problems can be fatal.

If you need to be treated with amiodarone for an irregular heart rate, you’ll need to be admitted into the hospital to get the first dose. This is to make sure that amiodarone is given to you safely and is effective. You may need to be monitored in the hospital when the dose is adjusted.

Sun sensitivity warning

Amiodarone may make you more sensitive to the sun. Try to avoid the sun while taking this drug. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing if you know you’ll be out in the sun. Don’t use sun lamps or tanning beds.

Risk of vision problems

Amiodarone may cause your eyes to get dry. If this happens, ask your doctor or pharmacist to suggest an over-the-counter lubricating eye solution or artificial tears solution. Most people experience symptoms of visual halos or blurred vision while taking this drug.

Decreased alertness warning

Don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you know how amiodarone affects you. Stand or sit up slowly, especially if you’re a senior. This will reduce the risk of fainting spells and dizziness.

Drug Features

Amiodarone is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: oral tablet and intravenous (IV) solution for injection, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

Amiodarone is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why It's Used

Amiodarone is used to treat heart rate problems that are life threatening. It’s usually given when other medicines haven’t worked.

How It Works

Amiodarone belongs to a class of drugs called antiarrhythmics.

More Details

How It Works

Amiodarone belongs to a class of drugs called antiarrhythmics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Amiodarone treats and prevents abnormal heartbeats by working inside cells to control muscle contractions in the heart. This helps your heart beat normally.

SECTION 2 of 5

amiodarone Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with amiodarone include:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • fatigue

  • tremor

  • lack of coordination

  • constipation

  • visual disturbances such as seeing blue or green circles around objects (halos)

  • insomnia

  • headache

  • stomach pain

  • decreased sex drive or performance

  • uncontrollable or unusual movements of the body

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • swelling of your lips, face, or tongue
  • lung problems. Symptoms may include:

    • blue-gray colored skin
    • trouble breathing
  • vision changes. Symptoms may include:

    • blurred vision
    • increased sensitivity to light
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include:

    • unusual tiredness or weakness
    • dark urine
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • heart problems. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain
    • fast or irregular heart rate
    • feeling lightheaded or faint
    • unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • stomach problems. Symptoms may include:

    • spitting up blood
    • stomach pain
    • nausea or vomiting
  • thyroid problems. Symptoms may include:

    • decreased tolerance to heat or cold
    • increased sweating
  • pain and swelling of your scrotum

  • nerve damage. Symptoms may include:

    • pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet
  • serious skin reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • mouth sores
    • redness
    • blistering
    • peeling
    • loosening of the skin
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug does not cause drowsiness.

Some people may experience damage to the nerves in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. This may cause tingling sensations and nerve pain.

This drug may cause high or low levels of thyroid hormones.

Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

amiodarone May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Amiodarone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food Interactions

Don’t drink grapefruit juice while taking this drug. Drinking grapefruit juice while taking amiodarone may increase the amount of amiodarone in your body.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Drugs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Examples are:

  • atazanavir (Reyataz)
  • darunavir (Prezista)
  • fosamprenavir (Lexiva)
  • indinavir (Crixivan)
  • lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra)
  • nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • saquinavir (Invirase)
  • tipranavir (Aptivus)

These medications may increase the amount of amiodarone in your body. This puts you at a higher risk for serious side effects from amiodarone, including irregular heart rate, which may be fatal. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you take these drugs together.

GERD drug
  • cimetidine

This medication may increase the amount of amiodarone in your body. This puts you at a higher risk for serious side effects from amiodarone, including irregular heart rate, which may be fatal.

Seasonal allergy drug
  • loratadine

This medication may increase the amount of amiodarone in your body. This puts you at a higher risk for serious side effects from amiodarone, including irregular heart rate, which may be fatal.

Depression drug
  • trazodone

This medication may increase the amount of amiodarone in your body. This puts you at a higher risk for serious side effects from amiodarone, including irregular heart rate, which may be fatal.

Herbal supplement
  • St. John’s wort

Taking this herb with amiodarone may lower the amount of amiodarone in your body. This means that it won’t work as well.

High cholesterol drug
  • cholestyramine

Taking this drug with amiodarone may lower the amount of amiodarone in your body. This means that it won’t work as well.

Drug to treat tuberculosis
  • rifampin

Taking this drug with amiodarone may lower the amount of amiodarone in your body. This means that it won’t work as well.

Seizure drug
  • phenytoin

Taking this drug with amiodarone may lower the amount of amiodarone in your body. This means that it won’t work as well.

Drug to prevent organ transplant rejection
  • cyclosporine

Taking these drugs together leads to increased amounts of cyclosporine in your body. This may cause serious side effects.

Statins to treat high cholesterol

Examples are:

  • simvastatin
  • atorvastatin

Taking cholesterol medications with amiodarone may increase the level of the cholesterol medications in your body. This can cause side effects. Your doctor may lower your dose of these medications while you’re taking amiodarone.

Medications for your heart

Examples are:

  • digoxin
  • antiarrhythmics:
    • quinidine
    • procainamide
    • flecainide

Taking amiodarone with heart medicines may increase the levels of the heart medications in your body. This may lead to serious side effects that may be fatal. Your doctor may reduce the dose of these drugs if you also take amiodarone.

Medications for high blood pressure

Examples are:

  • beta blockers, such as:
    • acebutolol (Sectral)
    • atenolol (Tenormin)
    • bisoprolol (Zebeta)
    • carteolol (Cartrol)
    • esmolol (Brevibloc)
    • metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
    • nadolol (Corgard)
    • nebivolol (Bystolic)
    • propranolol (Ineral LA)
  • calcium channel blockers, such as:
    • amlodipine
    • felodipine
    • isradipine
    • nicardipine
    • nifedipine
    • nimodipine
    • nitrendipine

Use these drugs with caution while you’re taking amiodarone. Using these medications together may cause side effects to your heart.

Blood thinners
  • warfarin

Taking blood thinners with amiodarone may increase the effect of the blood thinner. This puts you at risk for serious bleeding which may be fatal. Your doctor should decrease the dose of your blood thinner and monitor you closely if you take these drugs together.

Pain medication
  • fentanyl

Using fentanyl with amiodarone may slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the amount of blood being pumped by your heart.

Over-the-counter cough medicine
  • dextromethorphan

Using these drugs together may increase the amount of dextromethorphan in your body. This may lead to toxicity.

Local anesthesia drug
  • lidocaine

Using amiodarone with lidocaine may cause a slow heart rate and seizures.

Antibiotics

Examples are:

  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin
  • fluconazole
  • levofloxacin

Taking certain antibiotics with amiodarone may cause an irregular heart rate.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with an iodine allergy

This drug contains iodine. Don’t use amiodarone if you have an allergy to iodine.

People with heart failure or heart disease

Use amiodarone with caution if you have heart failure or heart damage. This drug may weaken your heart’s contractions and slow your heart rate if you have a heart condition.

Don’t use amiodarone if you have severe sinus node dysfunction with a slow heart rate, fainting due to slow heart rate, second or third degree heart block, and if your heart suddenly cannot pump enough blood throughout your body (cardiogenic shock).

People with lung disease

Use amiodarone with extreme caution if you have lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or if your lungs don’t work well. Amiodarone may cause toxic side effects to your lungs and may even be fatal.

People with liver disease

Use Amiodarone with caution if you have liver disease, such as cirrhosis or liver damage. These conditions may cause amiodarone to build up in your body and be toxic to your liver.

People with thyroid disease

If you have thyroid disease, you may experience low or high thyroid hormone levels while taking Amiodarone. This may make your condition worse.

People with nerve disease

Use Amiodarone with caution if you have any neurological disease, such as peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or epilepsy. Taking this drug may cause nerve damage and make these conditions worse.

Pregnant women

Amiodarone is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. The benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy may outweigh the potential risks in certain cases.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Amiodarone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

Amiodarone may pass through breast milk and cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll breastfeed or take amiodarone.

For Seniors

In general, as you age, your organs, such as your liver, kidneys, and heart, don’t work as well as they once did. More of the drug may stay in your body and put you at an increased risk for side effects.

For Children

The safety and effectiveness of amiodarone haven’t been established in people under the age of 18 years.

Allergies

Don’t take this drug again if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take amiodarone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Ventricular fibrillation

Brand: Cordarone

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

Brand: Nexterone

Form: Solution for injection
Strengths: 150 mg/3 ml, 50 mg/1 ml, 50 mg/100 ml, and 360 mg/200 ml

Brand: Pacerone

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

A healthcare provider will give you the first dose of amiodarone in a doctor’s office or hospital. After that, you’ll take your doses of amiodarone at home.

Adult Dosage (ages 18­­–64 years)

Starting dose:

  • 800–1600 mg per day taken by mouth in either a single dose or separated doses for 1–3 weeks.
  • You will be closely monitored during this time to make sure that you respond to the treatment.

Continuing dose:

  • 600–800 mg per day taken by mouth in a single dose or separated doses for one month.
  • The dose will be lowered to a maintenance dose. This is usually 400 mg per day taken by mouth in a single dose or separated doses.
Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

The safety and effectiveness of amiodarone have not been established in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your dose will be started on the low end to reduce the risk of side effects. In general, as you age, your organs, such as your liver, kidneys, and heart, don’t work as well as they once did. More of the drug may stay in your body and put you at an increased risk for side effects.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, your body won’t be able to clear this drug as well. This may cause the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose. If your kidney function gets worse, your doctor may stop your medication.

Liver problems: If you have liver problems, your body won’t be able to clear this drug as well. This may cause the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose. If your liver function gets worse, your doctor may stop your medication.

Ventricular tachycardia

Brand: Cordarone

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

Brand: Nexterone

Form: Solution for injection
Strengths: 150 mg/3 ml, 50 mg/1 ml, 50 mg/100 ml, and 360 mg/200 ml

Brand: Pacerone

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

A healthcare provider will give you the first dose of amiodarone in a doctor’s office or hospital. After that, you’ll take your doses of amiodarone at home.

Adult Dosage (ages 18­­–64 years)

Starting dose:

  • 800–1600 mg per day taken by mouth in either a single dose or separated doses for 1–3 weeks.
  • You will be closely monitored during this time to make sure that you respond to the treatment.

Continuing dose:

  • 600–800 mg per day taken by mouth in a single dose or separated doses for one month.
  • The dose will be lowered to a maintenance dose. This is usually 400 mg per day taken by mouth in a single dose or separated doses.
Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

The safety and effectiveness of amiodarone have not been established in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your dose will be started on the low end to reduce the risk of side effects. In general, as you age, your organs, such as your liver, kidneys, and heart, don’t work as well as they once did. More of the drug may stay in your body and put you at an increased risk for side effects.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, your body won’t be able to clear this drug as well. This may cause the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose. If your kidney function gets worse, your doctor may stop your medication.

Liver problems: If you have liver problems, your body won’t be able to clear this drug as well. This may cause the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose. If your liver function gets worse, your doctor may stop your medication.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Amiodarone comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It at All or Skip Doses

If you don’t take amiodarone as prescribed, you may be at risk for serious heart problems.

If You Take Too Much

If you think you’ve taken too much amiodarone, go to the emergency room right away, or call your local poison control center.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, take only one dose at that time.

Don’t take extra doses or double up on doses to make up for the missed dose.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell if this medication is working if your symptoms improve. Your dizziness, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, or rapid heart rate should get better.

Amiodarone can be a long-term or short-term drug.

Your doctor will determine how long you’ll be treated with amiodarone depending on how well you respond to it.

Important Considerations for Taking Amiodarone
should take with food icon Take this drug with food
timing icon Take amiodarone at the same times every day, at regular intervals
storage icon Store this drug at 20–25°C (68–77°F). Protect it from light
travel icon Travel See Details
Clinical Monitoring icon Clinical Monitoring See Details
sun sensitivity icon Sun Sensitivity See Details
prior authorization icon Insurance See Details

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription label with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

You’ll be monitored closely while you’re taking amiodarone. Your doctor will check your:

  • liver
  • lungs
  • thyroid
  • eyes
  • heart

You’ll also get a chest x-ray and blood tests. Your doctor will do blood tests that check how much amiodarone is in your blood to make sure that it’s safe for you.

Sun Sensitivity

Amiodarone may you make you more sensitive to sunlight. Try to avoid the sun while taking this drug. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing if you’ll be in the sun. Don’t use sun lamps or tanning beds.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for amiodarone.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does amiodarone Cost?

Oral tablet
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Lowest price for amiodarone

Walgreens $5.00
Walmart $11.20
Sams Club $11.20
These represent the lowest cash prices for amiodarone and may be lower than your insurance.

Find the lowest prices of amiodarone near you

These represent the lowest cash prices for amiodarone and may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on June 15, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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